Upon learning of the offer from Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC), Luke Rockhold initially had doubts but eventually realized that the proposal was all about freedom. As a free agent, he signed on to fight against Mike Perry in the five-round, 185-pound main event of BKFC 41. He is one of two former UFC champions making their promotional debut on the card, alongside Eddie Alvarez. The contract is for one fight only and does not restrict Rockhold from pursuing opportunities elsewhere, be it for MMA or boxing bouts.
Rockhold expressed his excitement for the bout and the opportunity to fight in a new and challenging environment. Bare-knuckle boxing is as pure as it gets, bringing the sport back to its roots. This style of fighting is more challenging and requires a different way of thinking, but Rockhold is confident in his abilities and excited to take on the challenge.
Rockhold has been a vocal critic of the UFC, speaking out about the organization’s need to improve the conditions for its athletes regarding health care, fighter pay, restrictive contracts, and more. As he hits the open market as a free agent, he is currently exploring other opportunities in the combat sports space. With BKFC, Rockhold finds the freedom that he has long sought, and he is excited to give the fans what they want.
Bare-knuckle boxing is not new to well-known combat sports stars. Several former UFC fighters, including Perry, Paige VanZant, and Ben Rothwell, have tried their hand at it, as have former boxing champions like Paulie Malignaggi and Austin Trout, all with varying degrees of success.
Rockhold is confident that his boxing skills will serve him well in this new challenge, albeit with some adjustments needed to better condition his hands. He believes that he can use his clinch work, length, and size to his advantage against Perry, who he envisions to be overwhelmed by his strength and intensity.
All in all, Rockhold is thrilled to be making his bare-knuckle boxing debut with BKFC and is relishing the opportunity to fight without any restrictions. It is a chance for him to show his worth and prove that he is a force to be reckoned with regardless of the sport.